overture opera guides
in association with We are delighted to have the opportunity to work with Overture Publishing on this series of opera guides and to build on the work English National Opera did over twenty years ago on the Calder Opera Guide Series. As well as reworking and updating existing titles, Overture and ENO have commissioned new titles for the series and all of the guides will be published to coincide with repertoire being staged by the company at the London Coliseum.
The updated reissue of this guide to Parsifal marks the return to the London Coliseum of Nikolaus Lehnhoff’s acclaimed staging of Wagner’s final music drama. First produced at ENO in 1999, the production has travelled to San Francisco, Chicago, Baden- Baden and Barcelona, as well as having been filmed for DVD. This revival at ENO in 2011 will be the production’s final perfor- mances. Nikolaus Lehnhoff returns to ENO to direct his staging of Wagner’s final masterpiece, with a cast which includes the dis- tinguished British Wagnerian Sir John Tomlinson (Gurnemanz), Stuart Skelton (Parsifal), Jane Dutton (Kundry), Tom Fox (Klingsor) and Iain Paterson (Amfortas). Mark Wigglesworth conducts.
We hope that these guides will prove an invaluable resource now and for years to come, and that by delving deeper into the history of an opera, the poetry of the libretto and the nuances of the score, readers’ understanding and appreciation of the opera and the art form in general will be enhanced.
John Berry Artistic Director, ENO February 2011 The publisher John Calder began the Opera Guides series under the editorship of the late Nicholas John in associa- tion with English National Opera in 1980. It ran until 1994 and eventually included forty-eight titles, covering fifty-eight operas. The books in the series were intended to be companions to the works that make up the core of the operatic repertory. They contained articles, illustrations, musical examples and a complete libretto and singing translation of each opera in the series, as well as bibliographies and discographies.
The aim of the present relaunched series is to make available again the guides already published in a redesigned format with new illustrations, some new articles, updated reference sec- tions and a literal translation of the libretto that will enable the reader to get closer to the meaning of the original. New guides of operas not already covered will be published alongside the redesigned ones from the old series.
Gary Kahn Series Editor Sponsors of the Overture Opera Guides
for the 2010/11 Season at ENO
Eric Adler John and Gilly Baker Frank and Lorna Dunphy Ian and Catherine Ferguson Judith Mayhew Jonas and Christopher Jonas Ralph Wells
Eric Adler and Richard Everall are gratefully acknowledged for their assistance in the 2017 reprint of this volume Parsifal
Overture Opera Guides Series Editor Gary Kahn
Editorial Consultant Philip Reed
OVERTURE overture opera guides in association with
Overture Publishing an imprint of alma books 3 Castle Yard Richmond Surrey TW10 6TF United Kingdom
The articles by Dieter Borchmeyer, Robin Holloway, Carolyn Abbate and Gerd Rienäcker first published by John Calder (Publishers) Ltd in 1986 © the authors, 1986
Articles by Barry Emslie and Mike Ashman first published in this volume © the authors, 2011
This Parsifal Opera Guide first published by Overture Publishing, an imprint of Alma Books Ltd, 2011. Reprinted 2017
© Alma Books Ltd, 2011, 2017 All rights reserved
Translation of libretto © Lionel Salter Library, www.LionelSalter.co.uk Reprinted by kind permission of Graham Salter
Printed in United Kingdom by CPI Group (UK) Ltd, Croydon, CR0 4YY isbn: 978-1-84749-708-6
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of the publisher. This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not be resold, lent, hired out or otherwise circulated without the express prior consent of the publisher. Contents
List of Illustrations 8 Recapitulation of a Lifetime, Dieter Borchmeyer 9 Parsifal: The Profanity of the Sacred, Barry Emslie 17 Experiencing Music and Imagery in Parsifal, Robin Holloway 31 Parsifal: Words and Music, Carolyn Abbate 49 Discursions into the Dramaturgy of Parsifal, Gerd Rienäcker 69 Parsifal on the Stage, Mike Ashman 85 Thematic Guide, Lionel Friend 95 Parsifal, Libretto Act One 107 Act Two 157 Act Three 209 Select Discography 239 Parsifal on DVD – A Selection 243 Select Bibliography 245 Wagner Websites 248 Note on the Contributors 249 Appendix: Parsifal Cross, Wieland Wagner 251 Acknowledgements 253 List of Illustrations
1. Richard Wagner in 1877 2. Paul von Joukowsky, Hermann Levi and Carl Brandt 3. Rehearsal at the Festspielhaus in Bayreuth (Lebrecht Music & Arts) 4. Cast list for the first performances 5. Amalie Materna, Emil Scaria and Hermann Winkelmann (Nationalarchiv der Richard-Wagner-Stiftung) 6. Flower Maidens at the Metropolitan Opera (Metropolitan Opera Archives) 7. Wieland Wagner’s first Parsifal design at the Bayreuth Festival (Nationalarchiv der Richard Wagner-Stiftung) 8. Wieland Wagner’s production at the Bayreuth Festival (Eduard Renner) 9. Ludwig Weber (ArenaPAL) 10. Martha Mödl (Siegfried Lauterwasser/Lebrecht Music & Arts) 11. James King (Siegfried Lauterwasser/Lebrecht Music & Arts) 12. Waltraud Meier (Siegfried Lauterwasser/Lebrecht Music & Arts) 13. Karl Muck (Lebrecht Music & Arts) 14. Hans Knappertsbusch (Rudolf Betz) 15. Clemens Krauss 16. Reginald Goodall (Clive Barda/ArenaPAL) 17. Ulrich Melchinger’s production at the Kassel Staatstheater (Sepp Bär) 18. Edith Clever and Michael Kutter in Hans-Jürgen Syberberg’s film (Ronald Grant Archive) 19. Ruth Berghaus’s production at Oper Frankfurt (Mara Eggert) 20. Götz Friedrich’s production at the Bayreuth Festival (Siegfried Lauterwasser/Fest- spielleitung Bayreuth) 21. Joachim Herz’s production at ENO (Clive Barda/ArenaPAL) 22. Robert Wilson’s production at Houston Grand Opera (Jim Caldwell) 23. Waltraud Meier and John Tomlinson in Harry Kupfer’s production at the Berlin Staatsoper (Monika Rittershaus) 24. Peter Konwitschny’s production at the Bayerische Staatsoper (Wilfried Hösl) 25. Nikolaus Lehnhoff’s production at ENO (Clive Barda/ArenaPAL) 26. Silviu Purca˘rete’s production for Welsh National Opera (Clive Barda/ArenaPAL) 27. Christoph Schlingensief’s production at the Bayreuth Festival (Bayreuther Festspiele GmbH/Jochen Quast) 28. Stefan Herheim’s production at the Bayreuth Festival (Bayreuther Festspiele GmbH/ Enrico Nawrath) 29. Claudio Otelli in Calixto Bieito’s production at the Stuttgart Staatstheater (Martin Sigmund)
8 Thematic Guide
Devised by Lionel Friend
Themes from the opera have been identified by the numbers in square brackets in the article on the music. These are also printed at corresponding points in the libretto, so that the words can be related to the musical themes.  e a i b g bb b 4 j j j j b 4 j c j j d n h w f  b b j j b b b4 j j j w
 x 1c b b bb j j b j 42
43  60 j j j n j ? 4 w w bb4 w n w w b w w
4  b n ? 4 b
 3 b4 4 b n b n
? b4 b
 95 4 j j b b n x n j ? J n b b j J J 4 b Parsifal
Stage Consecration Festival Play in three acts by Richard Wagner
Libretto by the composer English translation by Lionel Salter
Parsifal was first performed at the Festspielhaus, Bayreuth on 26th July 1882. It was first performed in the United States at the Metropolitan Opera, New York on 24th December 1903. It was first performed in Britain at the Royal Opera House on 2nd February 1914.
The German libretto has been laid out in accordance with the one printed in vol. 10 of Wagner’s Gesammelte Schriften und Dichtungen (Collected Writings) prepared under the composer’s supervision and first printed in Leipzig in 1883. The English translation follows the same layout.
Amfortas, son of Titurel and ruler baritone of the Kingdom of the Grail Titurel, his father bass Gurnemanz, a veteran Knight bass of the Grail Parsifal tenor Klingsor, a magician bass Kundry soprano First and Second Knights tenor and bass Four Squires sopranos and tenors Six solo Flower Maidens sopranos Voice from Above alto Knights of the Grail, Youths and Boys, Flower Maidens The Grail castle and its environs
105 Vorspiel [1, 25, 11, 1e, 3, 41, 50, 9, 1g]
Erster Aufzug Ort der Handlung: Auf dem Gebiete und in der Burg der Gralshüter „Monsalvat“: Gegend im Charakter der nördlichen Gebirge des gotischen Spaniens. Wald, schattig und ernst, doch nicht düster. Eine Lichtung in der Mitte. Links aufsteigend wird der Weg zur Gralsburg angenommen. Der Mitte des Hintergrundes zu senkt sich der Boden zu einem tiefer gelegenen Waldsee hinab. Tagesanbruch. Gurnemanz, (rüstig greisenhaft), und zwei Knappen (von zartem Jünglingsalter) sind schlafend unter einem Baume gelagert. Von der linken Seite, wie von der Gralsburg her, ertönt der feierliche Morgenweckruf der Posaunen. [1a] Gurnemanz (erwachend und die Knappen rüttelnd) He! Ho! Waldhüter ihr, Schlafhüter mitsammen, so wacht doch mindest am Morgen. (Die beiden Knappen springen auf.)  Hört ihr den Ruf? Nun danket Gott, daß ihr berufen, ihn zu hören! (Er senkt sich mit den Knappen auf die Knie und verrichtet mit ihnen gemeinschaftlich stumm das Morgengebet; [11, 25] sobald die Posaunen schweigen, erheben sie sich langsam.) Jetzt auf, ihr Knaben! Seht nach dem Bad. [12, 53] Zeit ist’s, des Königs dort zu harren.  Dem Siechbett, das ihn trägt, voraus  seh’ ich die Boten schon uns nahn’!
106 Prelude [1, 25, 11, 1e, 3, 41, 50, 9, 1g]
Act One Scene of the action: the domain and castle (‘Monsalvat’) of the Guardians of the Grail: landscape in the style of the northern mountains of Gothic Spain. Forest, shady and solemn but not gloomy, with a clearing in the centre. On the left a path rises to the castle. The background slopes down in the centre to a deep-set forest lake. Daybreak. Gurnemanz (elderly but vigorous) and two youthful squires are lying asleep under a tree. From the left, as if from the castle, sounds the solemn reveille on trombones. [1a]
Gurnemanz (waking and rousing the squires) Ho there! You guardians of the woods, guardians of sleep as well, at least wake at morn! (The two squires leap up.)  Do you hear the call? Give thanks to God that you are called to hear it! (He sinks to his knees with the squires and joins them in silent morning prayer [11, 25]; as the trombones cease they slowly rise.)
Now up, my children! See to the bath. [12, 53] It is time to await the king there.  I see the heralds already approaching  in advance of the litter bearing him.
107 Note on the Contributors
Carolyn Abbate is Professor of Music at Pennsylvania University. She has written extensively on Wagner and her publications include In Search of Opera and Unsung Voices: Musical Narratives in the Nineteenth Century. A History of Opera, co-written with Roger Parker, was published by Penguin in 2011.
Mike Ashman is an opera director whose productions include Parsifal, Der fliegende Holländer and the Norwegian premiere of Der Ring des Nibelungen. He has contributed to Wagner in Performance, The Cambridge Companion to Wagner, The Cambridge Wagner Ency- clopedia, Gramophone and Opera.
Dieter Borchmeyer is Professor of German Literature and Theatre at the University of Heidelberg. His books include Richard Wagner: Theory and Theatre and Drama and the World of Richard Wagner.
Barry Emslie is an independent scholar who lives and teaches in Berlin. His book Richard Wagner and the Centrality of Love was published by the Boydell Press in 2010.
Lionel Friend is a conductor with an international career in concert and opera. He has conducted Wagner productions in the UK, the USA and Australia and has assisted Daniel Barenboim at the Bayreuth Festival and Reginald Goodall in the UK.
Robin Holloway is a composer and Professor of Music at the Uni- versity of Cambridge. In addition to his many compositions, his publications include Debussy and Wagner, On Music: Essays and Diversions, numerous articles and music reviews.
Gerd Rienäcker is a lecturer in the theory and history of music theatre at the Humboldt University, Berlin. His publications include Richard Wagner: Nachdenken über sein ‘Gewebe’.
Lionel Salter was a broadcaster, lecturer and writer on music. At the BBC he held a large number of posts, including Assistant Controller of Music. He contributed to numerous encyclopedias and journals, as well as translating the libretti of over one hundred operas. He died in 2000.
Wieland Wagner was the composer’s grandson. With his brother Wolfgang he was artistic director of the Bayreuth Festival from 1951 until his death in 1966. His productions there and elsewhere were hugely influential.
A psychological pattern
Wieland Wagner Wieland Wagner published a diagrammatic plan under the title Das Parsifalkreuz: Ein Psychologisches Schema in the programme for his Bayreuth production of Parsifal in 1951, the first year the Festival reopened after World War Two. This English version appeared in the 1954 programme.
Wieland Wagner described it as ‘an attempt to express in graphic terms the fundamental ideas of the work, the relationship of the characters to each other and their place in the drama.’
Reproduced by kind permission of the Bayreuth Festival.
We would like to thank John Allison of Opera magazine for his assistance and Mike Ashman, Lionel Friend, Charles Johnston and Barry Millington for their invaluable advice in the preparation of this guide. We are also extremely grateful to the Bayreuth Festival and the Richard Wagner Archive in Bayreuth.
www.overturepublishing.com www.eno.org other titles in the overture opera guides series all at £12.00
Vincenzo Bellini – Norma Georges Bizet – Carmen Benjamin Britten – A Midsummer Night’s Dream Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Idomeneo Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Le nozze di Figaro Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Don Giovanni Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Così fan tutte Giacomo Puccini – La bohème Giacomo Puccini – Tosca Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky – Eugene Onegin Giuseppe Verdi – Rigoletto Giuseppe Verdi – La traviata Giuseppe Verdi – Simon Boccanegra Giuseppe Verdi – Otello Richard Wagner – Der fliegende Holländer Richard Wagner – Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg